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Ryan on State of the Union: For ‘More Jobs and Better Wages,’ We Need Trade

May 17, 2015

WASHINGTON — On Sunday, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) appeared on CNN’s State of the Union with Brianna Keilar to discuss the importance of trade promotion authority (TPA) legislation currently being considered by Congress. During their discussion, Chairman Ryan explained why new trade agreements are so vital to our economy and why Congress must pass TPA as soon as possible to ensure that we get the best agreements for American workers and job creators. To see the full interview, click here.

Excerpts of Chairman Ryan’s appearance follow:

On TPA empowering Congress:

There’s a misnomer—it’s really not granting the president authority. It’s actually Congress asserting its prerogatives, its authority, in how trade agreements are done.

On leveling the playing field for American workers:

We have 150 guidelines that are required to be in any trade agreements to basically bring other countries up to American standards. And, if they don’t meet those standards, we have ways of getting our disputes resolved so that we can hold them to account. The key thing is: Are these countries that we want to trade with going to open their markets to our products just like we already now open to theirs? That’s question one. Question two: Will they come and work in American standards versus China trying to come and write the rules, which degrade the standards of trade? And so that’s really what’s happening here.

On the opportunity that trade with Asia provides:

The other part is there’s going to be 3.2 billion people in the middle class in Asia by the year 2030. It’s an enormous market for America. And if we want more jobs and better wages, you have to trade. 

On the need for TPA to close out good agreements:

Every president since Franklin Delano Roosevelt has had this ability.

There’s no way we’re going to be able to get other countries to give us the best offer and good trade agreement if after getting that agreement, we take it back to Congress and rewrite the whole thing.

On Hillary Clinton’s support for TPA:

I think she is just being more political and more worried about her political base. I would assume she is in favor of it, given her past comments, given her role, but my guess is she is worried more about her Democratic primary politics.